NEW YORK – The Greek Consul in New York Amb. George Iliopoulos, accompanied by his wife Anthousa, and the staff of The Consulate General of Greece in New York, hosted a Greek Independence Day Open House reception on March 25.
Iliopoulos thanked the guests who packed the Consulate’s foyer and exhibition space for joining him “On this day dedicated to Greece, a day that belongs to all of us…We have the joy to have among us Archbishop Demetrios of America, Greece’s UN Ambassador Catherine Boura,” who were later joined by Greek Minister of Minister of Culture, Education and Religious Affairs Aristides Baltas and Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney.
The archbishop expressed his joy “in celebrating this great day together,” the dual holiday of Greek Independence and the Feast of the Annunciation – an English word which does not do justice to the Greek, he explained. “The Greek word gives the full meaning” – in is not just news, rather it is the Good News of the Incarnation he said.
His Eminence also pointed out how miraculous Greek revolution must have seemed in 1821 by noting the long odds for success against the massive Ottoman Empire, which comprised much of the Mediterranean Basin and the Middle East.
What is most marvelous to him, he said, is the spirit displayed by the children of the Greek diaspora at events around the world on March 25 in which he and all Hellenes delight.
Iliopoulos added that the glory of the nation goes beyond the triumph itself, in that Greece, over the past almost 200 years, rose from being the poorest portion of the Ottoman Empire to being the most advanced of the Ottoman successor states.
“We take our prosperity as a given,” but is in fact a great achievement of the Greek people, their current difficulties notwithstanding, he said.
Baltas echoed those words, saying that the holiday shows how a nation can overcome its difficulties and after referring to the current crises, the economic problems and the refugee situation, he nevertheless urged everyone to begin to focus on the celebration of the Bicentennial of War of Independence, which is only five years away.
Maloney said to the guests and hosts, “I just would like to say greetings and that I am thrilled to join so many of my friends, His Eminence and others, to celebrate Greek Independence Day. In two weeks, on April 10, we will be marching down Fifth Avenue together!”
Iliopoulos thanked the Hellenic American Chamber of Commerce, represented by its president, Nancy Papaioannou, for sponsoring the reception.